The mission of the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center is to work to improve the health of older people in the Americas, with focus on populations with the greatest health disparities. The Center emphasizes research in health behaviors and outcomes among older
adults in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Hispanic populations in the United States.
This is accomplished by equipping countries with population data, proven best-practice tools, knowledge solutions, and expertise and by activating networks and partnerships that catalyze and sustain positive change.
The purpose of the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center is to:
The Center focuses its research program on health behaviors and chronic diseases among older adults in Latin America and the Caribbean.
On June 13, 2005, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization designated UTMB as a Collaborating Center on Aging and Health during a ceremony at UTMB. Martha Pelaez, PhD, regional advisor for aging and health with WHO/PAHO, presented a certificate to Dr. James Goodwin, former director of UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging, designating UTMB as the home of the collaborating center. Dr. Pelaez was responsible for technical collaboration on public health and aging in 28 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
During the ceremony, Dr. Pelaez told the audience to brace for serious problems among aging Hispanics in Latin America over the next 45 years. These countries will have to resolve how to care for hundreds of millions of older adults, she said, while also meeting the needs created by a relatively high birth rate. "The collaborating center at UTMB will help solve these problems," Dr. Pelaez said.
WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centers assist the global organization to investigate public health issues from many angles, ranging from basic science and animal studies to clinical trials, public policy, training, and dissemination.
In 2008, Dr. Rebeca Wong was appointed as the director of the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center. Dr. Wong's other appointments include Associate Director of the Sealy Center on Aging and Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health. The WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and Health at UTMB has been successfully re-designated following its first and subsequent designations, in 2009, 2013, 2018, and 2022.